Tagged with Christianity

Secondary Separation, in Islam

Secondary Separation, in Islam

In fundamentalist Christian circles there is an approach to the world known as ‘secondary separation’. While the Bible notes Christians are not of this world, there is tension when Jesus says they are also in this world, and should not expect to be removed. Fundamentalism is one expression of this tension, that leans in the … Continue reading

Wisdom and Foolishness in Abrahamic Faith

Wisdom and Foolishness in Abrahamic Faith

“Knowledge is power,” is an oft-repeated saying. In an information economy this makes perfect sense, and our educational system is geared to develop know-how. Wisdom, on the other hand, sometimes seems a neglected virtue. It is the realm of philosophers, maybe, who have little to do with practical life. Or religion, often considered a private … Continue reading

Did the Muslims Conquer Jerusalem?

Did the Muslims Conquer Jerusalem?

Did the Muslims conquer the Middle East? History says they did, from both the Western and Islamic perspectives. Much of the self-understanding of modern civilization has been built upon this premise, the resulting Crusades, and eventual colonization by European powers. Some fear there are signs of a renewed animosity between the Western and Muslim worlds, a … Continue reading

The Coptic Church in Japan

The Coptic Church in Japan

There may be three million Christians in Japan, one percent of the population. They now have a Coptic Orthodox Church among their options. Egypt’s Pope Tawadros arrived on August 26 to consecrate Japan’s first Coptic Orthodox congregation, the Church of St. Mary and St. Mark. Tawadros hailed the cooperation between Japan and Egypt, especially the … Continue reading

Islam and the Bigotry of Conviction

Islam and the Bigotry of Conviction

The Muslim World (TMW) is one of the leading academic journals covering Islam worldwide. Strange it would call its own history “bigoted”. It was founded in 1911 by Samuel Zwemer, a founding father of Protestant missions in engagement with the oft-rival monotheistic faith. Now published by Hartford Seminary, like much of the Protestant mainline its … Continue reading

They Will Know We are Christians by Our Drinks

They Will Know We are Christians by Our Drinks

This article was first published in the April print edition of Christianity Today. The deadliest incident faced by the persecuted church last Christmas wasn’t radical Islamists. It was alcohol. Liquor mixed with aftershave killed about 50 people at Christmas parties in a Pakistani village, and sickened about 100 more. In Pakistan, as in many Muslim-majority … Continue reading

What Jesus Can Teach Muslims Today

What Jesus Can Teach Muslims Today

The New York Times carried a very Christian op-ed recently, penned by a Turkish Muslim. Mustafa Akyol is one of Turkey’s leading journalists, and argues that the crisis in the Muslim world today can be solved by turning to Jesus as example. But first, a primer for those who don’t know the basics: While Muslims … Continue reading

Who Awaits the Messiah Most? Muslims

Who Awaits the Messiah Most? Muslims

This article was first published in the Jan-Feb print edition of Christianity Today. Jesus did not show up to defend ISIS—and the first to celebrate was a Muslim. “The [ISIS] myth of their great battle in Dabiq is finished,” Ahmed Osman, a Free Syrian Army officer, told Reuters in October after coalition forces drove more … Continue reading

Arab Christians and the Marrakesh Declaration

Arab Christians and the Marrakesh Declaration

This article was first published at Christianity Today in the April print edition. With the lilt characteristic of a Southern megachurch pastor, Bob Roberts Jr. introduced the most significant Muslim statement on religious freedom in 1,400 years. “I am a Texan, an evangelical, and a Baptist,” the NorthWood Church leader told the crowd of more … Continue reading

The Difficulty of ‘Do Unto Others’

The Difficulty of ‘Do Unto Others’

As Christians involve themselves – for good and for bad – in the divisive politics and cultural struggles of our nation, it is assumed they do so to preserve and advance a moral ethic consistent with Scripture. Unfortunately, it can be easy to forget one of the central marks of this morality: ‘Do unto others, … Continue reading

The Inside Story: Christianity in the Gulf

The Inside Story: Christianity in the Gulf

Christianity Today recently interviewed me about my September article on the churches of the Persian/Arabian Gulf. There are about 2.3 million Christians in the Arabian Peninsula—more than nearly 100 countries can claim. What does that look like on the ground? Christianity Today‘s Middle East correspondent Jayson Casper recently spoke with assistant editor Morgan Lee on … Continue reading

Churches of the United Arab Emirates

Churches of the United Arab Emirates

Back in May I traveled to the Gulf – Persian or Arabian as per your geopolitical preference – to research the growth of Christianity among the extensive migrant population. What I learned became an article for Christianity Today: Why Christianity is Surging in the Heart of Islam. The excerpt provided in my earlier post ended … Continue reading

Why Christianity is Surging in the Heart of Islam

Why Christianity is Surging in the Heart of Islam

My article for Christianity Today was published September 11, 2015. Here is an excerpt: Espada, an architect, is one of the millions of foreign workers transforming the former desert oasis into a global center for business and travel. The UAE’s Dubai is the fifth-fastest-growing city in the world; its population is now more than 80 … Continue reading

The Virgin’s Fast and Intercession

The Virgin’s Fast and Intercession

In the Coptic Orthodox tradition, today begins two weeks of fasting from animal products in honor of the Virgin Mary. During our six years in Egypt we have attended the Orthodox Church regularly, appreciating without fully accepting many of their traditions. But today a small part of the mass, seemingly special for this fasting period, … Continue reading